God turns you from one feeling to another
and teaches by means of opposites,
so that you will have two wings to fly,
And so I sit here, in my home, and ponder this last day of 2015. I feel a restless energy inside of me that wants to take on one hundred tasks all at once and so I am forcing myself to sit and be still, and to see what reflections might emerge from this year that is about to come to an end.
I can see at the outset that it was a very, very full year. I met a lot of new people, including a few of my personal heroes like Natalie Goldberg and Dan Millman, and I really just did so much this year. A rather unexpected trip to Santa Fe last April was a real balm for my soul. I loved hooking up with Rick and Judy again out in Eldorado, as well as meeting a new friend, Muriel. I also had my first real exposure to what life at a Zen center looks like for the people who choose that path. Meeting Natalie Goldberg was a dream come true but just as nice, and unexpected, was meeting Sean Murphy too. A fellow Zen practitioner (more diligent than I, I confess) and author of some interesting books, it was a real pleasure to meet him and to sit in meditation with him too.
Segue to July and it was off to Oregon once again to attend my first ever full-blown Mootstock. What an amazing event that was. I ended up bunking with Ducks and Gala and despite my misgivings about having roomies it actually worked out quite well. I was the first person to arrive at the Ester Lee and the last person to leave. And while I thought I would be craving my alone time there, it turned out that I much preferred the company of my fellow Mooters to having time alone. Who knew?
I did this trip with some measure of independence too. . . flying in on my own, getting a rental car, and managing to navigate myself out to the coast of Oregon without any assistance at all. Well, at least not any visible assistance. . . There may have been an angel or two involved. And in the end I can honestly say that I did not want the Mootstock gathering to end. I think I was out there for eight or nine days and it just seemed to go by way too fast.
What a magical group of people they all are. Truly!
I also continued to explore my creative side – taking writing classes at Keefe Tech, pottery classes over in Wayland with Lisa Dolliver, and jewelry-making classes in Waltham at Metalwerx. Lisa is such a great teacher. I’m not sure that I have much latent pottery skills but it is just so fun taking classes with Lisa. And I actually do have some nice pottery pieces to show for my efforts, even if they are a bit on the primitive side. I think I found more fulfillment in the jewelry-making classes. To actually take something like a plain sheet of metal, and create something rather cool from it . . . that’s just really an indescribable feeling. And I admit, I feel like it brings me closer to Laureen. How I wish we had signed her up for that class. How I think she would have loved it. You learn so much, so quickly. I have four wonderful rings and two pendants to show for my efforts thus far, and definitely plan on taking more classes in the new year.
And the background to all of this is work. That is. . . my job, aka my profession. The other backdrop being, of course, Laureen’s absence in my life.
Work is work, although it is becoming something more than work. I cannot really put a finger on it. I started to watch a series last night called Firefly. It is an interesting series, sadly relatively short-lived at only 14 episodes or so. But I can say that I see an element of myself and my team in this series. We are a disparate group of people. On the face of it, you would think that we wouldn’t fit. But somehow we do. And for better or worse, I am the captain of our little ship – our little microcosm of the world in which we travel and interact with the other characters in our play. And interestingly, I do suspect that I am the glue that holds it all together.
As to Laureen – I still feel a deep sense of loss and a deep void in my life. Slowly, I shed bits and pieces of her – the material aspects such as clothing, magazines, books – all those things that once provided the backdrop to who she was. It is a slow untanglement. I have begun dating this year but to what purpose I cannot say as I don’t know what I want exactly. I understand that there will never be another Laureen in my life. She was unique, just as we are all unique. Sometimes I think that maybe I am just meant to go on in solitude for the rest of my days. A part of me is okay with that notion. And yet the quiet nights sometime speak otherwise.
In other ways, I do believe that Laureen is still around me. Even as I find myself sometimes doubting my belief that she still has an existence of sorts. Yet there are times when my path seems to be too smooth to be natural – those moments when things just fall into place so perfectly that I realize I am receiving outside help and guidance. Those are the times when I am certain that Laureen is around me, helping me and being a kind of cheerleader for me too. A foolish wish that somehow we continue after this existence ends? Who can say . . . I have met many who believe this to be so.
And so that brings us to this very moment, here and now. Last year, right around this time, I had a realization, for myself at least, that our life consists solely of moments – that our memories are really just moments that our brain grasps and stores, and that the only time in which we truly exist is in the present moment – right now!
So it is right now, at this very moment. And I am sitting here at my keyboard, in my dining room, wondering what exactly I am even going to say next because I really don’t know until the words just start appearing. And I am simply sitting here, almost just bearing witness to what is going to materialize out of nothing. I’m not really thinking about what I’m going to say next – the words are simply appearing and a part of me is detached from the process and just watching it. Rather odd actually.
What I can say is that I feel a disquiet, an apprehension, the minor tickle of a sore throat wanting to manifest, tired, empty, and like I want to do something but I don’t know what that something is. Thank god it’s a sunny day outside – I’d hate to see what I might come up with if it were gray. The gray days have been dampening my spirit as of late.
All that said, let’s change direction a bit and share a gratitude list – it is Thankful Thursday after all :
- I am thankful for friends and family. They have given me such support this year. Clearly I am not out of the woods yet.
- I am thankful for the abundance in my life, on all levels. Abundance may not give one happiness, but in this society, it certainly “buys” a measure of freedom.
- I am thankful for my job. It gives me purpose and helps to define who I am – at least for myself and right now I need some external self-definition in my life.
- I am thankful for my health. Having good health allows everything else to flow with much greater ease.
- I am thankful for the sense of wonder which seems to be such an inherent part of who I am. It makes the world a magical place, full of miracles.
- I am thankful for all of the lives that I have been able to touch. It is a gift to give freely and joyfully.
- I am thankful for all of the teachers I have had in my life this year. Indeed, I am surrounded by teachers constantly.
- I am thankful for the technology that we have which allows me to reach out and connect with people whom I would otherwise have never met.
- I am thankful for all of the artists, poets, musicians and dreamers that I have met and whom inspire me to seek these qualities in myself.
- I am thankful to still be on this planet for a little while longer.
Well, perhaps I will have more to say later on. For now I feel like it is time to begin moving through this day.
~~ AHO ~~